Our "Spirited" Little Grinch: Raising a Spirited Child

How do you handle a spirited child? Temper tantrums, heightened sensitivity, aggression -- it can be a lot to deal with. One working mom seeks advice.

By looking at our Christmas card, you know who I’m talking about.

Oh yes, my husband and I were spoiled with the arrival of our first born… sweet, angel-boy Jonah. Rarely a tantrum. Never a handful.

Then came along Zoe. Or as we refer to her…“Rotten”, “Crazy-girl”, and my favorite, “Spaz-Zo.”

She is what others referred to as “our payback.”

So, this past week she’s been more Jekyll-and-Hyde-mannered than usual. In fact, she reached the all-time timeout record.

Then I remembered a co-worker told me about a book called Raising Your Spirited Child. When other children are at about a 10, the spirited child is at about an 11. They’re “more of everything”… more energetic, more emotional, more sensitive, more aggressive, etc.

Anyway, I found a BabyCenter® article that offers some tips from the book. Here are just a few points that stood out:

  • First, I need to stop calling her Spaz-Zo.

    The article says “try not to label” your spirited child. Instead, use positive labels. So maybe I should try calling her “Pizzaz-Zo.”

  • Reinforce good behavior.

    I should really improve on rewarding Pizzaz-Zo when she’s good. That way she realizes that good behavior—rather than bad—gets Mommy’s and Daddy’s attention.

  • Tell her what’s coming.

    Even though Pizzaz-Zo is still struggling with her words, she definitely understands what we say to her. I should do a better job of keeping her informed on what we’re doing next. Maybe this will help prevent meltdowns when it’s time to eat or time to leave the park.

I might try to get this book and read it over my Christmas break. If you’re a parent of a spirited child, I would appreciate any other tips. Have a great holiday!

7 thoughts on “Our "Spirited" Little Grinch: Raising a Spirited Child

  1. I am so going to call my “spirited” three year old Pizzazo now!

  2. Awww. Pizza-zo. Sue and I joke that I have a spirited baby. (Although he always seems to have a reason for his crankiness that make me feel horrible about later–double ear infections, teeth at three months…) Now I know what to do if he grows up to be a spirited toddler!

    Jason LOVED your Christmas card, btw.

  3. That card is insanely cute. Well done!

  4. just4ofus says:

    Perfect Christmas card! That is fabulous. We too were blessed with Jude, loving, well behaved, no temper tantrums… and then we received LILY. We refer to her as the devil, frequently she gets her shirts caught on her horns and my favorite is when I ask her where she would like to park her broom. (jason thinks we share the broom parking).

  5. Yes! I’m going to get this book! As we have discussed, my daughter is quite spirited, too. I’m sure she would benefit from a lot more patience on my part.

    Pizzazo. Ha! You crack me up.

  6. Anonymous says:

    You think your nickname is bad…We call our spirited child Usma Bin Sadie. Hopefully she won’t grow up with a complex.

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